Ever wonder what a bird feels as it’s soaring through the air? Not a care in the world, it just enjoying the wind in its wings. I did, well, still do actually. I do believe I came close to finding out though when I took my first plunge out of a helicopter from 10,000feet in the air. That’s right. I went skydiving!
I’ve been wanting to go for quite some time. In fact, my home state, Kansas, has perfect conditions for skydiving: vast open fields, flat lands, little to no wind– oh wait, not that so much. Anyway, I had thought about it when I lived in Kansas but to be honest it was a very fleeting thought as my fears and nay sayers dissuaded me to let it go beyond that- a fleeting thought.
While living in Korea, I have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of very elite, interesting people whose jobs would blow your mind. Obviously that’s not the focus of this particular blog, but a dozen or so of those people happen to be Skydiving Instructors. I have been trying to get a couple of them, whom I am close with, to take me skydiving for a few of years now, but as circumstances would have it, it just wasn’t possible—- until I randomly saw a friend’s skydiving photo on his social media app and made the comment, “I wanna jump tandem so badly!” (It was a photo he took of someone tandem skydiving.) He informed me that he would be going that very weekend, if I wanted to join! I called him immediately, and basically we sorted it out for a couple weeks later.
The price is a little expensive, compared to other countries, but since I COMPLETELY trust this guy, live here (not in those other, cheaper skydiving locations), and it was imminently possible, I decided to commit my 500,000won (about $475 US) to the adventure.
Me being me, I was concerned about the details of what I was supposed to “do”/ learn. I shouldn’t have been. JongIl, my friend coordinating my skydiving adventure, set my mind at ease early on. He told me that I didn’t need to learn anything. I would have about 10-20 minutes of instruction the day of and that all I needed to do was enjoy the ride.
The day of, I wore comfortable clothing and closed shoes (tennis shoes, in my case). One of my good friends heard that I was skydiving that day (from JongIl) and came up to Seoul with his daughter to surprise and support me. I have the best people in my life! I waited my turn, got my instructions — which are super simple– and up we went. I wasn’t scared at any point. This surprised me because I thought there would be certain points, at the doorway of the helicopter, the free fall, the spinning, etc that I would be afraid, but I wasn’t! Putting the experience into words is extremely difficult. The best way I can describe the sequence is:
Woooaaahhh—– WOW, so cool— PEEEAAAACCCEEEE.
Falling out of the helicopter was amazing- a total adrenaline rush that I didn’t want to miss even a millisecond of– I consciously reminded myself to try not to blink. We flipped a couple times on the free fall and watching the ground- sky- landscape was fantastic! Then began the free fall. I remember watching my friend “swim” in the sky to position himself for proper photography- I was impressed to say the least at his skills. I remember trying to smile, keep my eyes open, stay in proper position and enjoy the moment. And in the moment I was. I have heard that living in the moment is its own euphoric feeling. I try to live my life enjoying my present while planning for the future and being grateful for the past. This moment– those couple of minutes of my life in the air- has truly opened my world up. It was a peace beyond description! I have experienced peace. Peace in the presence of God. Peace in meditative states. Peace in my daily life—- but THIS PEACE– it is so far beyond words, I feel at a loss to find an ample word for it.
Needless to say, I am hooked! I MUST do it again. I am not sure if I’ll actually take the time and spend the funds to learn how to skydive alone, although I am told that doing it on your own is 200 times better, but I will definitely “become a bird” again in the near future. In fact, if this is truly how a bird feels when flying, I don’t know why it ever lands!
If you wanna become a bird too, I HIGHLY recommend Seoul Skydiving School. The school’s number is (+82) 02-404-4194.